Friends are meant to be friends forever. I thought this would be so with my childhood friend, Asante.
Her father had been a policeman for as long as we had known him. He was one of the few people that spoke Kiswahili in our village. For no clear reason, we dreaded him.
As children, we had always heard rumors that Asante’s dad always had a gun wherever he went. We heard that even in bed, he had his gun under the pillow.
One adolescent boy did not grow weary in trying to lecture us on the difference between a gun and a pistol. He said Asante’s father possessed both. What did it matter to me whether he owned a gun or pistol?
I never wished to find myself in a scenario where he had to use any of the two on me. Even the notorious thieves in the village avoided his home like a plague.
He had done his professional training in the neighboring Kenya, probably explaining the reason why his daughter had such a name. Asante’s family environment did not deter her from making friends. I was one of her friends.
We all knew our boundaries when it came to visiting her home or calling her for games. It was difficult to forget that her father possessed a gun.
Life became slightly liberal when we joined university. At least Asante had moved away from the mean, lurking eyes of her father. However, it seemed that the spirit of her father kept hovering over her head.
Each time her new friends learnt of her family background, they kept a clear distance from her. This drew me to sympathize and bring her even closer into my life. We had come such a long way.
Right from attending the same schools to being village neighbors back at home. We shared a lot in common. Much as her father was dreaded because of his mean demeanor, Asante was by all means a good girl with a golden heart.
In my second year at university, Lady Luck smiled on me. I got a boyfriend. He was not the ordinary boyfriend just looking for another sexual escapade and run to his next victim.
He was the ideal man that every girl would want to write home about as the incoming in-law. I look back and even wonder why I, at first, played so hard to get – risking my chances of having this godsent angel.
Our relationship moved well for the two years we were at university. I told all and sundry about our intentions to get married upon graduation. This man was the kind that every girl would have loved to call the man of her life.
My friend Asante always reminded me of how lucky I was to have a man with all the good attributes. She had not been as lucky on the side of boy-girl relationships.
The few men that had proposed to her had literally asked her to bed hardly after a month into the relationship. She felt very frustrated and used.
It was her frustrations that drew her close to Rweshe, my man, for counsel. As her friend, I understood and shared her pain. Her closeness to my boyfriend did not bother me at all.
I knew it was as genuine and innocent as the intentions that led to it. With time, I started getting concerned when Rweshe started avoiding me. The long night walks characterised by fantasies of our soon-to-be home, the children we would have and all the silly jokes became tales of the past.
My naivety could not lead me to suspect Asante as the cause of my evidently crumbling relationship. I confided in her.
“Just withdraw a bit. If he is interested in you, he will come begging for you,” she soothingly advised me.
I took her advice. She had experience in failed relationships; so, she was the best-suited person to walk this journey with me. Withdrawing from Rweshe was the last nail in the coffin.
When we left university a few months later, Asante moved in with Rweshe. She did not fear her tough father; neither did she fear the gun, his deadly weapon. Of course she couldn’t; she had not feared to disappoint me, her best friend!